Foursquare is a social network of sorts that works like a marketing game. Users run Foursquare on their mobile phones. It uses GPS to pinpoint your location and pulls up stores, restaurants, and other public locations and venues in your vicinity. You can then ‘check in’ to the place you are at, and it will share it with your friends. It’s a service that promotes word-of-mouth marketing!
Foursquare treats something so commercial as promoting businesses as playfully as a game, which is why it has such a big appeal. Once a user checks into a place often enough, they are deemed the Mayor of that particular establishment until someone checks in more than they have. Foursquare also offers points for check ins depending on the type of venue, how often the user revisits, and more. It sounds quirky, and silly, but it is pretty fun and executed very well.
Many businesses have adopted Foursquare by offering deals for checking in. After all, a check in is a promotional shout out for that business. Who doesn’t like free advertising? Next time you go out to eat, check Foursquare for deals on local businesses. Chain stores and restaurants have often already adopted Foursquare and offer deals for checking in for becoming the mayor. For local businesses, it simply helps spread the word to your friends on Facebook and Twitter, which can help drive traffic to them.
To get started with Foursquare, download the iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android app from your phone’s marketplace and set up your free account. When you go to other businesses, restaurants and other venues, pull up the app and click check in and select the place you are at. Foursquare will let you know how many points the check in gives you. It’s that simple. Check local businesses for specials and even use it to decide where your next lunch meeting will take place.
For businesses, utilizing Foursquare is a great way to let your happy customers promote you. Setting up a special promotion on Foursquare is pretty simple. Go to Foursquare.com and claim your venue. It is possible it is already in their system, if not you will want to create it. Specials can consist of discounts, free items, or other promotions. You can offer these promotions for just checking in the first time, or after a certain number of check ins, or maybe reserve a special promotion for the Foursquare mayor. Either way, Foursquare can drive more visitors to you more frequently and get them to spread the word, which these days is becoming extremely valuable.